The members of the new local duo Archidea sound a bit like seasoned artists who, having already walked through the valley of musical jadedness, have returned to impart their wisdom on a younger generation—even though their combined ages would barely add up to “middle-aged.” Nina Wine, 20, plays alto saxophone and flute for the project, and Angelo Monroy,19, plays the piano. Together, the duo speaks with a profoundness and plays with a level of introspection that sounds well beyond their years.
Their music can be classified most basically as Third Stream, a genre that encompasses the synthesis between jazz and classical music. But Archidea dips into other genres, displaying short bursts of Ethno Jazz influence, hypnotic, minimalistic repetitions, and even moments that speak with a pared-down indie vibe.
“Our music is a classically minded, acoustically soft amalgamation of all of our tastes,” said Monroy. “We wanted something that was like chamber music, in that it would be through-composed, with room for jazz improvisation but enough space that it could be interpreted in a multitude of ways.”
Wine and Monroy are currently working to develop original music, prepare for playing gigs and fine-tune their existing songs. The duo just released its first EP, which contains five songs. The title of the album is in Greek—αρχ—which transliterates to “archí.” It means “beginning” and refers not only to the start of the duo’s musical partnership but to a new period of musical, emotional and spiritual growth that the two found as they began creating the album.
“Both of us went through rough times recently, having to do with doubting ourselves musically, what exactly we wanted to do and why we were doing it, and other life stresses,” said Wine. “But this album felt like a nice ending to those dark periods. It was a feel-good project, a celebration of all that we’ve overcome, and a thank you to the people who had never let us doubt ourselves.”
The EP is a culmination of both the hard work of the two musicians and the contributions of those who supported them, including friends like Ryan Burt, who recorded the tracks, and professors and colleagues who created artwork for a book that comes along with physical copies.
Musically, the EP exists both as a background piece and as a performance in the foreground. Some tracks, like the final one, “Counting Skips,” feel like watching Tom Hanks running through ’90s rom-com gold, while others like “Baneful Sorry” use the power of dissonance to subvert expectations and compel the audience to listen with a high level of awareness.
In all of the pieces on the EP—regardless of style, form or time signature—Archidea has created music that is relatable yet completely representative of the two musicians at their current point on their musical journey.
“For me, I got out of my rut by finding out what, fundamentally, had gotten me into music and to this point, making this EP,” said Monroy. “And as you listen to the album you can tell that we are both trying to honor the parts of ourselves that allow us to resonate with music in the first place. … I think it is us being uncompromisingly who we are and willing to put it on display.”